Whatsoever Things Are Lovely ~ Think On These Things

Failing Student Tom

“A partially deaf boy came home from school one day carrying a note from officials at the school.  The note suggested that the parents take the boy out of school, claiming that he was ‘too stupid to learn.’

The boy’s mother read the note and said, ‘My son Tom isn’t too stupid to learn!’  I’ll teach him myself!’  And so she did.

When Tom died many years later, the people of the United States of America paid tribute to him by turning off the nation’s lights for one full minute.  You see, this Tom had invented the light bulb — and not only that, but motion pictures and the record player.  In all, he had more than one thousand patents to his credit.

No child is beyond receiving affection and growing in self-esteem.  No child is beyond experiencing the presence of Almighty God.

Never give up on any aspect of your child’s growth and development.  Your Heavenly Father hasn’t, doesn’t, and won’t.” *

Never despair of your child.  The one you weep the most for at the mercy seat may fill your heart with the sweetest joys.” 

“He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing…”

~ Psalm 126:6

Albert Einstein Childhood

Thomas Edison On Failure


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*God’s Little Devotional Book for Moms

 

The Remarkable Women of the Bible ~ Chapter 8 ~ Miriam

Devoted Sister ~ Remarkable Leader

“And his sister stood afar off, to know what would be done to him.”

~ Exodus 2:4

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Many mothers desire to raise their children to be men and women of faith, to love their siblings, to love their fellow man.  Jochebed, the mother of Miriam had no less of a desire.  Moses was the youngest of her three children Aaron, Miriam, then Moses.  She was now faced with a terrible dilemma.  Pharaoh had ordered the newborn Hebrew male infants to be thrown into the Nile and drowned (Exodus 1:22) as we had read in Chapter 7.  No doubt Miriam helped her mother with hiding Moses for three long months.  Could you imagine, quieting a hungry, restless, or uncomfortable crying child for three months? That must have been a nerve rattling experience for them! She thought of a plan to save her son.  She made a basket of bulrushes and lined it with pitch and lay Moses in it onto the reeds of the Nile River.

Jochebed could trust Miriam, his older sister, to stand guard over the basket.  Miriam followed and watched, waiting to see what would become of her little brother.  She was a dedicated sister and a wonderful helper to her mother. At the opportune time, Pharaoh’s daughter would find Moses and have compassion on him and would take him for her own son.

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Now where do you think that Miriam developed such a strong family loyalty? She probably learned it from her wonderful mother.  Even today, mothers, grandmothers, aunts, etc. can also aid in the development of family loyalty and instill the values that God has designed all mothers to instill into their children by their example and by teaching them the ways of God. What are some of the ways we can teach family loyalty and kindness to members within the same family?

Daily efforts to do the following will help.

~ Teach siblings to love one another (John 15:12,17) Encourage brothers and sisters to pray for one another and to do secret acts of kindness for one another.

~ Openly express kindness and concern for others. (Proverbs 12:25) Children repeat what they hear and mimic what they see.  So be a living model of Jesus Christ, acting with kindness and compassion.

~ Express love openly.  Be affectionate and verbal.  Say “I love you” every time you say goodbye or talk on the phone to your children.

~ Cultivate strong family ties.  Develop a “three musketeers mentality” of “one for all and all for one.”  See that each family member supports and encouraged the others.

~ Pray for God’s love to be made manifest by your children.  (Galatians 5:22)

And remember, too, that the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous mother avails much! (James 5:16) ] pg 90

In the Jewish culture, girls remained under their mother’s care until marriage, unlike today.  There was plenty of opportunity for their daughters to be mentored by their mother.  For approximately twelve years Jochebed brought up Miriam to possess the vital qualities of diligence, faithfulness, responsibility, and wisdom.  She mirrored her mother’s faithfulness and those “treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:20) she wanted to instill in her children.  Remember in Chapter 7 we discussed how during the first three years of a child’s life, a child can imitate and develop very quickly the ways of their caregivers.  How much more would your daughter gain from your example until she weds? Even if one is in the unmarried season of life, she can learn a great deal from a Christian mentor.  Indeed, there is nowhere in scripture that tells of Miriam ever being married or having children, yet she did not fill her time with mourning but was a wonderful tool in God’s great hands.  God speaks in the New Testament of unmarried women who dedicate their lives to God:

“There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married cares for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.”

~ 1 Corinthians 7:34 

Yes, if you find yourself in the season of life where singleness may be what God has given you for a time, devote your time to becoming a servant in God’s ministry, as Miriam devoted her life to her brothers Aaron and Moses and to the people of God.  Single women have more time to devote to God’s very heart, having the time and availability to do the will of our Father in heaven, visiting the fatherless and widows in their affliction, taking care of the needs of those who are hungry, discouraged, etc., women of which we are in desperate need of in the churches of God today.

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Let us travel back in time again to the scene of Miriam following her little brother Moses in the basket made by her mother in the Nile’s reeds.  Yes, she displayed courage stepping forward to offer help to the princess when she found Moses in the Nile. She asked the princess if she would like her to find a nursing Hebrew woman to feed the little one, which would turn out to be Moses’ own mother!  Here she exemplified her qualities of compassion, loyalty to her family.

Because of Miriam’s quick thinking, a triple blessing was reaped by her family:

~ Moses’ life was saved.

~ Jochebed received her baby back.

~ Jochebed even received wages from the pharaoh’s daughter for nursing Moses. (vs 9)

Teaching your children love, mercy, caring, and compassion along with diligence, faithfulness, responsibility, and wisdom – the kinds of traits we see in Miriam – begin with you dear mom.  Your children will mirror your merits.  What are they seeing in you and learning from your actions?  Whatever you sow, that shall you reap. (Galatians 6:7) pgs 91-92

Miriam grew and became an even stronger woman of God, devoted to family, and also then devoted to becoming one of the three leaders of Israel, Moses, Aaron, and herself.  The Bible also speaks of Miriam being the first female prophetess and the one to lead the people in rejoicing for God’s greatness for saving their lives from Pharaoh’s army.

“And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.”

~ Exodus 15:21 

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From that day forth, Israel would always sing about exceptional victories because of Miriam’s example of singing praises to God for His help in times of adversity. Yes, Miriam was a natural born leader of God’s people. She was a woman who exemplified service, gratitude, a thankful heart for God’s mercy and graciousness.

“For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of servants; and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.”

~ Micah 6:4 

In conclusion, who was this woman Miriam? She was a devoted sister and an exceptional single woman in the hands of a mighty and gracious God.

Let our love be manifested this day, whether a diligent mother as Jochebed, teaching the ways of God to the next generation or a single woman, who in her season of life will show forth the very attributes of God’s tender love, mercy, and loyalty to His people.  Let’s move forward in any season of our life with joy and with singing, thanking Him for the glorious things He has done in our own lives!

 

To see previous chapters, see below:

Chapter 1 ~ Eve, Remarkable Creation

Chapter 2 ~ Sarah, Remarkable Faith

Chapter 3 ~ Sarah, Advanced Steps in Faith

Chapter 4 ~ Sarah, Rewards of Faith

Chapter 5 ~ Rebekah, Ready, Willing, and Able

Chapter 6 ~ Rebekah, Tests of Faith

Chapter 7 ~ Remarkable Mother

To learn the wonderful purpose of our life on earth and the promise of a time of great peace on the earth, please see our booklet What is Your Destiny.

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The Remarkable Women of the Bible ~ Chapter 7 ~ Jochebed

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Remarkable Mother ~ Remarkable Woman of Faith

Chapter 7 of the Remarkable Women of the Bible And Their Message For Your Life Today by Elizabeth George begins with the story of Jochebed.

Times were tough for Jochebed and her family.  We go through many trials in our life, but Jochebed, a woman who feared God, had the one of the worst nightmares of any mother.  Pharaoh of ancient Egypt saw that the Hebrews were multiplying greatly and feared that they would consider a revolt.  (Genesis 1:7-10) Pharaoh gave the midwives an order to kill any boy that was born of the Hebrew women and let the female infants live.  (Exodus 1:15-16) Imagine the horror Jochebed faced when approaching her delivery date. She remained faithful through all of the frightening circumstances and was placed in the hall of fame for her faith in the Almighty. She hid her son Moses for three and one-half months when Pharaoh’s edict was sent to throw the young newborns into the Nile River.  (Hebrews 11:23) We can glean faith from a woman of God who faced her trial with confidence and trust in God.

“Jochebed shows you how to hold up your frightening, seemingly impossible situations to your Father in heaven.  Worry ends when faith begins…and that faith ends when worry begins. So make a decision to face your trials with courage fueled by faith.  Make a decision to refuse to fear and to instead place your trust in God.  Declare with David, ‘Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.’”  (Psalm 56:3) pg 78

Perhaps Jochebed had so great a faith in God because she would have been taught by her parents of the promise to Abraham, how God had miraculously blessed Abraham with a son in his old age and had been with him and performed miracles throughout his life. God gave the promises of a great nation to Abraham because He knew he would command his children and his household after him that they would teach his children and his children’s children the way of God.

Genesis 18:17-19 Yahweh said, “Will I hide from Abraham what I do, seeing that Abraham has surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed in him?” 

Genesis 18:19 For I have known him, to the end that he may command his children and his household after him, that they may keep the way of Yahweh, to do righteousness and justice; to the end that Yahweh may bring on Abraham that which he has spoken of him.”

How important is our faith in the rearing of our children in the way of the Lord?  Ask yourself this question, ‘Does my son or daughter know more about human men with supernatural powers than the God of the Bible?  Someday, there will be another persecution, and they will need the faith of Jochebed and the faith of many of those who have gone before us who were taught the way of God diligently.  Our children are the heritage of the Lord and are chosen by God to be kings and priests if they also follow in our footsteps, if we set the right example of  loving the Lord with all of our heart, all of our soul, and all of our minds.

After Jochebed could no longer conceal her son at three months, she made a boat (ark) with reeds and placed tar inside to keep the dangerous waters of the Nile from drowning her little one.  Sound familiar?

Exodus 2:3 “When she could no longer hide him, she took a papyrus basket for him, and coated it with tar and with pitch. She put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river’s bank.”

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Was Noah saved by an “ark” that was pitched with tar?

Genesis 6:14 “Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.”

Again, did she recall the miracle of God saving Noah and his family because she heard from her parents of the great flood that encompassed the earth?  This may shed a little more light on why Jochebed had such faith, being taught and teaching her family the statutes and judgments of God.  God commanded the Israelites to remember to teach their sons and sons’ son in the way of God.

Deuteronomy 6:4-7 “Hear, Israel: Yahweh is our God; Yahweh is one:  and you shall love Yahweh your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.  These words, which I command you this day, shall be in your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up.”

Again we see David expounding this command:

Psalms 78:4-7 “We will not hide them from their children, telling to the generation to come the praises of Yahweh, his strength, and his wondrous works that he has done.  For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children; that the generation to come might know, even the children who should be born; who should arise and tell their children, that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments.”

Time With Mother

Another point to consider is that she was allowed to spend time with Moses by the daughter of the Pharaoh.  The first bond and closeness of the mother and her offspring is so very important.  No daycare can give your child the closeness and love that a real mother can.

Did Jochebed speak of God and live out her faith as she nursed Moses?

“If you are a mother, grandmother, or aunt, God’s high calling for you is to devote yourself and your time to those children during the first few years of their lives.  God has given you the important role of teaching His little ones, of informing them about Him, of nurturing them up for Him, of giving Him a godly man or woman to use for His great purposes, and Jochebed shows us how” pg 79

Are we aware of the special purpose of our children’s future?  Our children are holy because we are holy, set apart, they may be princes and princesses of God.  The princes and princesses  of the world today receive a special education. They are tutored for a role that they will perform one day.  Do we spend time with our children and make them aware that they have a special role to play in God’s plan for mankind?  Their potential, in God’s eyes, is far beyond what superheroes can ever achieve.  None of them ever became a king or queen and/or a priest to guide this untoward world into an age of peace and harmony. Our children are the future, and they need to know this in order to prepare themselves for their calling.

During the Feast of Tabernacles is a great time to celebrate their importance to God, that is they are our future.  They will be the leaders along with us guiding the world in the millennium.

Moses knew that God, by his hand, would deliver the children of Israel. (Acts 7:25) How did Moses come to that conclusion?  Did his mother inform him that he was to become the leader of a great nation from birth? It’s a curious question.  Moses understood the love that his mother had for him even as He grew in Pharaoh’s house.  I’m certain that his mother informed him of this while she nursed him.  He had a special bond with his mother just as all nursing infants have.  Three years of closeness with our own children are priceless.

“Just a few years! Do you know that 50 percent of a child’s character and personality development takes place by age three and 75 percent by age five?  The first years of a child’s life are critical years for input and training.  Jochebed was one of God’s faithful mothers who devoted her time those first critical years to train her son in the ways of the Lord.  Indeed, the only time that she had with her little boy were those few years.  If you’re a mom, please take seriously your calling as a mother.  Just a few years of time devoted to God’s little ones make a world of difference!” Pg  80.

I believe that all of the years of a child’s life are important years, and that their training should all be in light of the glory of God, not evolution, not learning the ways of the world, but the ways of God.

Let’s let Jochebed’s  life be an example of the faith of a remarkable servant of God and also a remarkable mother who brought up all three of her children in the way of the Lord:

Aaron, her first born became Israel’s first high priest, marking the beginning of the Aaronic priesthood (Exodus 30:30)

Her daughter Miriam was  a gifted poet and musician who led the Israelite women in a victory song after God delivered them from the Pharaoh’s army , (Exodus 15:20) and with her brother was intimately involved in God’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt oppression.

Moses, a small baby that Jochebed gave to pharaoh’s daughter in order to save his life (Exodus 2:10), was used by God to lead His people out of Egypt and to communicate to them His fundamental commands for life (Exodus 4:11-12; 24:3). Pgs 82-84

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How much importance should we place upon the career of motherhood when it is used for God’s glory?  There is no comparison.

Jochebed was the first person in Scripture to have a name compounded with Jah, or Jehovah.  Jochebed means “glory of Jehovah,” Jehovah is her glory,” or Jehovah is our glory.”  Pg 79

Will we, as daughters of the most High, bring glory to God by following the example of the faith and love of Jochebed? She gives us the example.  Let’s follow in her footsteps of faith, and God will give us a new name at His return.  What name will that be? Will it be for God’s glory?

Revelation 3:12 Him that overcomes will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God.”

Chapter 1 ~ Eve, Remarkable Creation

Chapter 2 ~ Sarah, Remarkable Faith

Chapter 3 ~ Sarah, Advanced Steps in Faith

Chapter 4 ~ Sarah, Rewards of Faith

Chapter 5 ~ Rebekah, Ready, Willing, and Able

Chapter 6 ~ Rebekah, Tests of Faith

To learn the wonderful purpose of our life on earth and the promise of a time of great peace on the earth, please see our booklet What is Your Destiny.

The Passover ~ When We Can’t Forgive Ourselves

Perfectionist Depression

Women who are perfectionists, even for the most noble of reasons, that of pleasing God, can often fall into discouragement and even depression because they have a hard time forgiving themselves for mistakes made.  I know.  I was one of them.  We have a checklist each day.  We check it twice.  We check it more than twice.  How about all day long? We have our daily checklist of what the perfect woman, wife, mother, serving member of a church, and/or good neighbor is, and when we slip up….. Well, if they could invent an invisible flog only to be felt by ourselves, I think we would be one of the first ones to run out and purchase one.

Not being able to forgive oneself for mistakes can literally cripple your joy and make life miserable.  The simple truth is, my dear daughters in Christ, WE CAN’T! That’s what Christ’s sacrifice is for.  We’re simply not big enough or powerful enough to do it.  ALL have sinned.  We ALL are growing.  We’re God’s children, and when we put forth our best effort, though not perfect, God is pleased. Remember the verse “He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” I might add here, “not who are diligently perfect in everything.” Somehow, we tend to forget that verse and concentrate on our flaws and imperfections.

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” 

~ Hebrews 11:6

I’d like to consider my recent post on Abraham’s wife Sarah.  She was faithful enough to be written in the Hall of Fame in the faith chapter in Hebrews 11, considered a mother of faith, even though she suffered from many human weaknesses.

Yes, we can forget that it is faith in God’s ability to forgive that frees us from guilt. When Passover season comes around, many women who constantly question their worth, also tend to come to the Passover services with their heads hanging down, feeling that we have too much baggage to be forgiven.  God, however, says otherwise.  Passover is a time to remember that He, the Creator of all living, Creator of the entire universe is looking down on us with eyes that seek to willingly forgive us. If we come to Him with a humble attitude He is quick to praise us for jobs well done.

I have a feeling that David had this same propensity to be a perfectionist, to flog himself for every wrong thought.  When David wrote Psalms 51, I think he probably felt as we do at times.  We too need to have God restore us to the joy of His salvation.  Let’s look at the words of David:

“Create in me a clean heart, oh God, and renew a right spirit within me.  Cast me not away from Thy presence, and take not thy Holy Spirit from me.  RESTORE unto me the JOY of thy salvation.  Then will I teach transgressors thy ways and sinners shall be converted unto thee.”

Psalm 51:11-13

Ahhhh.  I love that Psalm.  I meditate on it when I catch myself in the middle of flogging myself mentally.  I stop and remember these words and instead of beating myself up, go to God in prayer.  This helps to free us from the bondage we put ourselves under. God is the only one who can forgive our sins, and He is much greater and more powerful than you or I, and He willingly with gladness will give us grace in time of need if we’re repentant and our hearts are desiring to please Him.

Yes, the Passover is a solemn time, but it is also a joyous time.  He has given us eternal life willingly.  He didn’t have to.  He deeply desires to forgive us to give us hope and give us peace and joy.

Let’s look at the very Passover service Christ performed before He gave Himself on His own accord for us at His crucifixion.  He reminds us of the peace that He desires to give us.

Here are the some of the words that He wanted to leave with us right before his death…..

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  

“Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.”

~ John 14:27-28

Yes, the Father indeed greater and bigger than our capabilities and willingly gave His Son to be our intercessor. Our Father, the great and powerful Almighty God is willing and able to forgive….even when we can’t.  Let’s remember this during this Holy Day season.  It is a season of thankfulness, a season of praise to the great God who loves us so much and deeply desires a relationship with us.

Yes, when we can’t forgive ourselves.  Don’t worry.  God can.  Be joyful for His perpetual grace!

Grateful Woman

Prayer: “Thank you Father for the continual grace you bestow on your children.  I know that I’m imperfect, but you are perfect.  I thank You for willingly giving Your Son as a sacrifice that washes  us clean and takes our sin away from us as far as east is from the west.  Help us to truly come to believe that, and help us to embrace it. Help us to remember that you promise to give us peace, a peace that the world cannot know.  We stand on your promises, dear God.  Help this day to be a day of joy and peace because of the great sacrifice we have in your Son that we are especially reminded of this time of year.  Help us to hold that promise close to our hearts as we walk with you each and every day throughout the year. We thank you.  We love and praise you. In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen.”

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 Please see our booklet, Holidays or Holydays: Does It Matter Which Day We Observe?

Holidays or Holydays: Does It Matter Which Days We Observe?

“The Remarkable Women of the Bible” Book Study Chapter 1

The Remarkable Women of the Bible

“Eve – Remarkable Creation”

What first comes to your mind when you think on the creation of Eve? Does rebellion, deception, and an overall feeling of contempt for her because of her choice when it came to her disobedience to God’s command to not take to herself the fruit of the tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil? I know it happens at times to me when I think of her. Her name brings to mind man’s contempt for God’s authority.  Yet, Eve was just as human as you and I.  Adam and Eve were created flesh and blood. In Romans 8:7, it speaks of the flesh that is not subject to the law of God; and neither indeed was she.

“Because the carnal (fleshly) mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”

~ Romans 8:7

Adam and Eve were carnal.  They were made of flesh and blood, and so are we.

After Eve Ate The Apple

Would we have done any better? We scoff a bit at that question, but when I think about my temptations in life, sugar cravings, etc. it’s not so hard for me to fathom the pull she must have felt; after all, all of the trees were beautiful to the eye and had fruit to be desired and this one was also desired to make one wise, and it was situated conveniently right in the center of the garden. Also, she had the added trial of Satan right there egging her on. God knew the draw that Satan could possibly have on them.  That is why during God’s soon coming 1,000-year millennial reign, Satan will be bound; God knows the sway Satan has over us; and He willingly pardons our sins if we truly repent.

We do not know if Adam and Eve repented, but God had mercy, killing animals and using the skins to cover their nakedness (Revelation 3:17), which I believe to be their sin. Fig leaves would not do. It takes blood to cover sins. I believe this was a picture of Christ eventually coming to the earth and shedding His blood, reconciling men back to their God. But God  stated in the Old Testament that the blood of bulls and goats can never take away sin, only a promise of a better sacrifice, Jesus Christ could. (Hebrews 9:23-2).  Then, you might ask, why were they thrown out of the garden?  Simply put, without Christ’s sacrificial blood, the power of death wouldn’t have been defeated and there could be no eternal life. So, the tree of Life was made inaccessible to them.

Adam and Eve Cast Out Of The Garden

“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”

~ Genesis 3:15

According to the book The Remarkable Women of the Bible,in chapter 1 Eve was remarkable in the “firsts” in her role as the first woman to ever to walk the face of the planet.  She was the first person created to be a man’s perfect help-meet, the first wife, the first mother, etc. Only together could Adam have been complete, in the image of God, and not until both of them were created that God said His creation was VERY good! Notice in God’s word, all the creation days preceding this were proclaimed good, but on the day that Adam and Eve were created, it was “Very good!”

“So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.”

~ Genesis 1:27

Eve Created From Adam's Rib

You as a woman are a unique creation.

“Accept your femininity — There’s no need to feel inferior, second-class or second-rate.  No, woman was God’s last, most beautiful creation.  It was only after God presented women that He proclaimed His creation was “very good.” (Genesis 1:31) Adam and Eve were alike, yet they were different from one another.  One was female (Genesis 1:27), yet together as well as individually they reflected God’s image and His glory!” pg 12

You can also reflect God’s glory when:

~ You give life through your physical efforts to care for others.

~ You share spiritual life by telling others about Jesus Christ and God the Father

~ You are the life of your home, bringing the sparkle of laughter and joy to other people.

~ You pass physical life on to your children.

~You can also help your children have the opportunity to come into God’s family by the gospel of Jesus Christ. pg 14

Women's Kindness And Caring

Not only was she the first in the many roles as stated above, including being given the name “Eve – the mother of ALL living,” she was the first to suffer loss, her son (Abel) murdered, first to have her son taken away from her (Cain).  Yet, there was hope, for unto her was given the first evangelistic vision, the coming Savior from the lineage of her womb. A Savior would be born into the world,  paving the way to reconciliation for all mankind. Indeed, she was remarkable!

~ First Lessons in Faith ~

Loss tears at the heart, and Eve certainly suffered many losses.  Just look at the list.  She had lost:

~ her perfect relationship with God (Genesis 3:8)

~ the bliss of sinless marriage (Genesis 3:12)

~ her lack of acquaintance with evil (Genesis 3:22)

~ her ideal home in the Garden of Eden

~ her son Abel

~ her son Cain (gone to a place of refuge) pg 16

Cain Slays Abel His Brother

Yet even through all the loss, the goodness of God shown through.  We can always hope in God! “Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, ‘For God has appointed another seed for me.” (Genesis 4:25)

The gift of Seth whose name means “appointed” surely refilled Eve’s empty heart and her equally empty barrel of hope.  Appointed by God, her Seth would not only bring hope to her sore heart, but he would be the one from whom God’s Son would come bringing bountiful and eternal hope to all mankind (See Luke 3:38) pg 16

Eve also was the mother of the first man, whose blood God considered righteous.  Was he one of the first prophets? The Bible does not say, but it does say in Matthew 23:

“Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city.”

“That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.”

~ Matthew 23:34-35

Serving Elderly

~ Eve’s Message For Your Life Today ~

How do you handle your heartbreaking losses?  Rather than plunge into depression, discouragement, or hopelessness, place your God-given faith and confidence in these hope-filled realities:

God’s Faithfulness: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

God’s Promises:  One of the over 8,000 promises in the Bible assures you that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. (Philippians 4:13)

God’s Goodness:  Your lack of hope can never negate God’s goodness.  (Psalms 30:5) For his anger endures but a moment; in his favor is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Proverbs 30:5)

Just as Adam was a reflection of God’s glory, Eve was as well, in His image created He them.  We can be a reflection of God’s glory as God transforms our minds into His spiritual reflection:

Resolve never to make a habit of criticizing or downgrading yourself but instead

Rejoice in your worth in God and your likeness to Him

 Rejoice that you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)

Resolve to seek a deeper relationship with God and to

Rejoice that He is near to all who call upon Him (Psalm 145:18)

Resolve to walk by faith paths.  You may not understand and to

Rejoice in the promise of His nearness as He directs your way.

Resolve to live each day as a child of God through His son, Jesus Christ and to be a reflection of His glory, and

Rejoice that, as one of God’s chosen, your name is written in heaven. (Luke 10:20)!

Resolve to spend time communing with God on a daily basis through prayer and the study of His word, and

Rejoice in the strength that He gives, for each day and the hope that He offers for all your tomorrows!

Resolve to reflect His glory and, dear one,

Rejoice in His love. pg 18-19

I Would Love To Hear Your Comments

Chapter 2 – March 26

Mothering Monday: Teaching Children to Talk

Reposted from my daughter’s blog Where My Treasure Is.

I believe that one of the most important things you can teach a child is how to talk to other people.

That may sound like a silly thing to say, but think back to the last time you stooped down and tried to talk to a child. Did the child listen to you? Did the child even look at you? Did the child answer your question or just run away? I do this a lot because I am interested in what children think about, but I am often unsuccessful in my attempts.

I’ve noticed that there are usually two main reasons why children will not look at me or talk to me when I attempt to start a conversation.

1. Shyness

2. Self-centeredness

Both of these “conditions” are natural for children and both can be improved upon with loving guidance. It’s our job as parents to help our children to grow in the area of communication if they struggle with either of these things.

Why is it important to teach a child how to communicate clearly with other people?

Good communication skills can…

…help a child to learn to care for the needs of others more than themselves.

…enable a child to express his ideas clearly and exchange them with other people.

…help a child to learn more in life by listening to other people’s ideas.

…give children the confidence they need to successful in life.

Dan and I have tried to be very intentional with teaching our children good communication skills from the very beginning. We have 4 naturally vocal children. However, even they have had to learn how to interact with others. It didn’t come naturally.

Below are some simple things that we focus on as we try to teach our our young children about good communication. As we teach these things, we are conscious to model them ourselves. When starting out, we go with our children when meeting new people. Sometimes we provide them with a small token to offer the other person (a drawing, a flower, etc.) to help break the ice a bit. As the children grow and these sills become more naural, they start to want to go off and use them on their own!

1. Look at the face of the person who is talking to you. This means that even if you’re walking past the person as they greet you, STOP and look at them.

2. Always offer a greeting in return. Of course, for a very shy child, you may have to have lower expectations, but for our family, we strive for a minimum of “hi” or “hello”.  We’ve had a couple of children who had a hard time with this when they were very young. We waited it out (even if it took several seconds or even a minute) until the child would say “hi” (or at least wave) from behind my skirt :)

3. If you see someone who looks lonely, approach them and offer a smile and a friendly “hello”.

4. When you go up to a new person for the first time, say “Hi, my name is______. What’s your name?”

5. Ask the person a question about himself. ”How are you doing today?”, “Have you ever been here before?”, “What is your favorite thing to eat here?” (at a restaurant), etc. I remember prompting my children to ask these kinds of questions even at a very young age (1 1/2 – 2  years) so that they would learn this very important part of communication. They really enjoy talking to people more when they get to hear other people’s stories and ideas. You really can’t go wrong in a conversation when you ask people about themselves. :)

6. Listen to what the other person has to say without thinking about what you are going to say next.

Learning good communication skills is a labor of love for others.

“Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”
– Philippians 2:4

As my children grow in their ability to communicate with others, I try, as much as it possible, to let them answer for themselves when someone asks them a question, instead of stepping in and trying to answer for them. I believe that it is beneficial for children to formulate their own answers to questions such as “Why aren’t you in school today?”, “Are you excited for Santa to come?”, or “What are you going to do for the rest of the day after you’re done shopping?” If they get stuck on their answer and give me a quick, pleading glance of “Help!”, I’ll step in, of course. But I often let them try on their own first.

I’m not saying that my children are perfect communicators. I’m guessing that if you know our family personally, you would agree. However, I am a firm believer that character traits and habits can always use improvement. If we have a good reason behind our desire to help our children become better communicators, then we are more apt to try and help them grow in this area.

I don’t necessarily believe that you can make an extrovert out of an introvert. However, I do believe that by consistent teaching and encouragement, we can help our children to become considerate and confident in their dealings with others.

{For more Mothering Monday posts, click HERE.}

*This post was written by my daughter Anna.  Here is her blog WhereMyTreasureIs.wordpress.com

I Would Love To Hear Your Comments 

Published in: on March 3, 2014 at 2:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Mission of Motherhood ~ Chapter 12: The Faithful Mother

Concluding the last chapter in my daughter’s book study on “The Mission of Motherhood” from Where My Treasure Is.

Mission of Motherhood

“Welcome to our last book discussion of The Mission of Motherhood: Touching Your Child’s Heart for Eternity!

Thank you so much for joining me these last several months, whether you have kept up with the reading schedule, or whether you are still on Chapter 3 or whether you never had the opportunity to purchase the book but stopped by here to visit and share your thoughts on my posts.

I hope that you have been encouraged and inspired as we’ve taken a peek into one woman’s life who is passionate about the mission of motherhood. It’s easy to read about something, but an entirely different matter to implement it though, isn’t it? I’ve been inspired many times in my life by a great book or blog article or message, but have watched that inspiration fizzle quickly as soon as I turn back to deal with the more mundane aspects of my life. I sometimes struggle to keep a brightly burning vision in front of me when little ones are pulling at my legs or asking me for help with math problems or interrupting every other thought with shouts and roars and animal noises and piano scales and joyful exclamations and arguing and tears.

What’s a mom to do?

How can we make that leap from the daily grind to the worthy ideals that we hear about? Is is possible to be successful and faithful in motherhood, or is that only for those A-type, put-together ”supermoms”?

In this final chapter of the book, Sally shares with us four things that have helped her (in addition to God’s grace) to be faithful in her journey of motherhood.

An Inspiring Vision

Do you balk at the idea of vision? Having a vision is nice and all, but for now I’m just trying to get through. If you feel this way, let me encourage you that seeking out a vision is a most worthwhile use of your time. In order to be faithful, we need to know where we’re headed. We need to identify our goals and occasionally check back to see if we’re still heading in the direction of those goals.

Our vision gives us the ideal we pursue.

It defines the decisions we make, the priorities we keep. (p. 224)

Do you possess in your mind a well-defined picture of what God has designed the family to be? Sally shared her picture with us in this chapter…

tillamook

Though cultural storms attack violently each day, a solid Christian home can be a protective fortress, a haven of peace for all who live there. Those inside its walls are protected, nurtured, and nourished in body, heart, mind and soul. Such homes need a director, guardian, and caretaker, which is what God had in mind when He designed the role of mother.

Homes that are being established and protected by the mothers who have a clear vision of their God-designed role can bring refuge and life and hope to a generation of children who need to grow strong in order to be able to battle the storms they will one day face. (p. 225)

A Persevering Faith

Although a strong vision is essential to a successful mom, it isn’t always enough to keep us going through the hard times. We need a deep, unwavering commitment to stay the course. We need perseverance.

The task of stewarding children’s lives is not a short-term process. There is no quick list of rules that can be followed in one short year that will ensure success. The mission of motherhood requires grit. It requires perseverance. And that often means years of repetitious and mundane tasks, years of repeating yourself, years of wondering whether anything you do or say makes a difference. (p. 226)

We must choose to believe that God Himself will eventually reward our choices and efforts to raise a godly heritage for His glory. It is for Him and His purposed that we must endure, trusting that He who promised is faithful. Being godly parents is no guarantee that our children will choose to respond to all that we have taught them. Yet trusting God’s timing, submitting to His design, and obeying His Word are always the right biblical choices for us to make. (p. 227)

In the video that accompanies this chapter, Sally talks about how we can’t always rely on our feelings to tell us whether something is noble, or true, or good. Because sometimes motherhood doesn’t feel good. Sometimes it feels like just a big waste of time.

However, if we continue to obey God in training and teaching our children in love, and our feelings will usually follow.

A Tenacious Trust

Have you ever felt like this?

I’m making a wreck of this child. I’m failing as a parent. What if my child never outgrows this selfishness? Why am I spending all this time on something that may make no difference at all?

I know that I have!

In those times, I’ve found only one thing to be truly effective – To keep trusting the Master and Lord of my life. He shows us the ways to love, to serve, to discipline, to teach – if we will only trust in His methods.

The Lord would encourage me to trust Him, to wait on Him and give Him time to work, to hold on to His promises, to not compromise my convictions, and most important, to persist in my love and my prayers for the little ones He entrusted to my care. (p. 228)

A Little Perspective

Even with a vision in my heart, a persevering spirit and a strong trust in my heavenly Father, I can still benefit from taking a step back to gain perspective. I truly believe that there is nothing like being a stay at home mom with little children to create tunnel vision! Sally gives us some things to consider as we try to keep the proper perspective on our mothering as the days fly by…

  • Keep a sense of humor- One of the things that I’ve most had to learn since becoming a mom is how to laugh at my shortcomings and how to find humor in everyday situations. My husband has been a great help to me as I learn to laugh when less-than-ideal things happen throughout the day (which is quite often when you have young children!)
  • Enlist allies – Although sometimes it seems near impossible sometimes for me to carve out any time for spending time with other women, I am always glad that I did. Just sharing our days with one another, even if we don’t have any solutions to offer, helps me to realize that life isn’t that bad, and that there are certain things that all moms struggle with.
  • Seek advice of older women – I see a tendency for young moms today (myself included) to want to figure everything out for ourselves. We meticulously research every tiny decision regarding our babies, even though we may have an older, experience woman in our life who is willing to offer ideas. We may dismiss the advice of others thinking that the older generation just doesn’t understand how things are these days. We might be wise to have a humble attitude and take into consideration what a more experienced person is willing to share with us.
  • Look out for our basic needs – One of the hardest lessons for me to learn as a mom has been to carve out some kind of respite for myself, whether it is physical, mental or spiritual. I shared the lessons I’ve learned in this post written earlier this year: Oh yeah… I’m still a person!

It Is For The Children’s Sake That We Give Our Lives

I’m so proud of each of you for investing the time to seriously consider this noble task to which you have been called. May God be with you as you continue on your journey!

“We are protecting future generations that they might be strong for the battle of life.
We are the real, in-the-flesh, tangible picture of God’s loving hands,
strong arms of protection, and encouraging words of hope to our children.”

Oct 30 064

Additional Resources to Encourage You In Your Mission of Motherhood

Mothering Monday series (My blog articles specifically for moms!)

The Mission of Motherhood Book Club posts

Sally Clarkson’s Mission of Motherhood videos

Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe Book Club posts

I Would Love To Hear Your Comments

Our lives are important to God and He has a plan for each and everyone of us, to become literal sons and daughters in His family.  He gives us of His very own spirit, so we can be grow up with His characteristics, one being that of self-control.

To find out more of God’s purpose for you, please send for our booklet“What is Your Destiny?” or click below to read it in a pdf format.

What is Your Destiny?

The Mission of Motherhood ~ Chapter 11: The Ministering Mother

Continuing with my daughter’s book study on “The Mission of Motherhood” from Where My Treasure Is.

Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkston

“Welcome back to our book discussion of The Mission of Motherhood: Touching Your Child’s Heart for EternityWe are nearing the end of this jam-packed book. I hope that you have been inspired  over the last several months to take seriously your very important role as mother. This week’s topic is one that has been on my mind a lot lately, so I’m excited to share my thoughts and hear yours as well. Let’s get started with Chapter 11…

serving others

One of the fundamental messages of the Bible is that all of us who belong to Christ are expected to extend His love to and to meet the needs of other believers and those in our community. We have a stewardship responsibility for which we will have to answer to God someday, giving account of the ways we have served him by reaching out in love to others. (p. 201)

Then the King will say to those on His right, “Come, you who are blessed of My Father,
inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat;
I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink;
I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;
naked, and you clothed Me;
I was sick, and you visited Me;
I was in prison, and you came to Me…

Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine,
even the least of them, you did it to me.”

Matthew 25:34-36, 40

The scriptures above weighed heavily on my mind throughout the years of young motherhood. Up until very recently, I was nagged by the feeling that I wasn’t doing “enough”. I wanted to serve others outside of my own home so badly, but I felt somewhat constrained living out in the country with a brood of young ones.

I began to wonder, “Is there any way for me to make a difference in the world?”. Of course, I believe that mothers already have the awesome opportunity to make a difference in the world by raising God-fearing children.

But I always wanted to do more. I’ve always had heart for serving others, which was strongly impressed upon me by my own mom. Since first becoming a mother myself, I’ve had a strong desire to provide a model for serving to my own children. Over the years, I stored up ideas in my head of ways my little family would serve our community – volunteering at homeless shelters, putting on charity concerts, making visits to local nursing homes, participating in an adopt-a-highway program, etc. The problem is that when you show up to volunteer with 5 kids (10 and under) people generally assume that you will contribute more disturbance and trouble than actual hard work.

After several years of mostly fruitless attempts on my own part to come up with service projects, I decided to stop worrying so much about it and try a different tactic – putting it into God’s hands. I prayed for Him to show me where He wanted me to use my “hands and feet” rather than where thought I should use them. I purposed to keep my eyes and ears open for the opportunities that I hoped He would send.

And they came!

I found that they were not always grand, Facebook-worthy acts of service, however.

Sometimes, I when I heard of a need, I thought to myself, But that doesn’t really work into our schedule this week or That person? She is kind of grouchy though, God. She probably won’t even thank us for our service! I had to ask myself if I had actually been serious when I asked God for those service opportunities! I came to the conclusion that I’d better respond to them to the best of my ability since I had asked for them in the first place.

An amazing thing happened. The more I responded, the more opportunities He sent my way.

Service to others in need is an essential part of training and instructing our children in order to cultivate in them a loving and obedient heart. Serving others is a way to live out what the Bible would have us believe in our hearts. It puts feet to the message of the gospel. (p. 200)

In this week’s chapter, Sally reminds us that service isn’t just for the “professionals”. After all, Jesus chose common, ordinary men to do the work of God’s kingdom:

Spiritual qualifications in the mind of Christ are not determined by the degrees a person has earned at a university or a professional resume but by the anointing of His Spirit and by a willingness to serve in obedience to God’s commands. (p. 203)

As God brought to my attention small opportunities in which my children and I could serve from right where we are, I’ve learned an important lesson.

Service doesn’t always fit into tidy packages.
Being an effective worker for Christ means that we are “ready responders”.

Teaching and training my children to reach out in service isn’t all about the cool service projects I can come up with. Rather, it’s helping them to be quick respond to the needs of the people around us. And in order for us to respond, we need to be aware.

Jesus was going about all the cities and the villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. And seeing the multitudes, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and downcast like sheep without a shepherd. – Matthew 9:35-36

Sally says:

This passage tells me that children must learn to see people as Jesus did and feel as He felt. Instead of seeing the multitude and seeing them with disdain and scorn – or as an overwhelming drain on His time – Jesus felt compassion for them. He saw the crowds as they really were. He saw their need for leadership, protection, healing, and nurture, and He responded by reaching out to them in love and by doing what He could. This is the way we need to teach our children to serve. They need to see as Jesus saw and then reach out to others in compassion, as He did. (p. 206)

So, while grand ideas for service projects are wonderful, too, let’s be careful to not discount the small, ordinary ways that we can serve as a family each and every day.

Sharing our faith is often as simple as loving others
and gently showing them the source of our love, the Lord Jesus.

(p. 208)

A few ideas…

The ways in which we can reach out to our community are so wonderfully varied. There are so many needs just waiting to be filled by ready responders. I offer below some of the ways I’ve found that my children and I can serve right where we are with the ages we have in our home at this time. As they grow, the sphere and scope of our service will no doubt change, but I hope that our hearts will continue to be the same “ready responders”!

IMG_0740

Make freezer meals in advance – While we’re doing our regular cooking, we can make extra, smaller portions and package them away in the freezer. That way, when we hear about someone in need, I can quickly pull something out for them and my children can make a card of encouragement to tuck in with the meal.

Visit someone who is lonely – In a society that is flooded with social media, it seems unthinkable that anyone could actually be lonely, but there are actually people who are not connected by technology and consequently, feel very out of touch with the rest of the world. For someone to actually step away from their busy schedule to make a visit can be a wonderful blessing to those people.

Be available – I’ve found that a simple way to serve is to not fill my schedule so chock full that I am not available if a friend needs to talk. People’s problems rarely come on a convenient time schedule. Being willing to get together on short notice to talk to a discouraged friend is a very simple way to serve.

Grow in hospitality – One of my goals for 2013 was to develop a heart for hospitality. Hospitality is more than just “entertaining”. It involves much more than well-orchestrated party plans and Pinterest-worthy decorations. It involves opening our home to people who are lonely or never get invited anywhere, not just our friends and family. It is a wonderful time to teach our children how to anticipate the needs of others and to fill those needs – offering to carry something in for the guests, taking their coats, offering them something to drink, thinking of interesting questions to ask guests, finding out what the visiting children like to play and doing what they want to do, etc.

Give so they can give – Giving children an allowance of some kind can help them be more sensitive to the needs of people around them. We’ve found that when our children are given some money of their own, their eyes and ears are more open to people and ministries that they can support. We have been sponsoring a child through Compassion International for several years now, which has made a big impact on our children. They hear about needs during church announcements or about needs of local charities and ask for a shopping trip to buy some small things to contribute.

Teach children to work – Training children to work in the home has blessings that are more far-reaching than a clean house! I’ve found that because my children have been taught to work hard at home, they can actually be a blessing to others. When we have been presented with opportunities to help clean someone’s home or do other physical work, my children are capable to vacuum, dust, do dishes, clean bathrooms and organize because they’re accustomed to it at home. When we visit others’ homes, they are comfortable helping out in the kitchen. We try to help clean up before we leave someone’s home.

Eyes Wide Open – I encourage my children to keep our eyes open wherever we go to see if we can spot an unfilled need. One simple thing that I always have my children do is pick up the trash at the playground we’re at for the day. Oftentimes, the small playgrounds we visit have been visited by local teenagers the night before. Dan and I invite our children to join us for a quick pick-up before we leave the park so that the next person can enjoy it more. It’s not as fancy as an adopt-a-highway program (we don’t get our name on a sign!) but it is just as effective at training the heart of a ready responder. Our next venture is to make up a few of these blessing bags to keep in our van for our winter travels.

the unnoticed

Now it’s your turn!

I’d love to hear about some of the ways – big or small – that you and your children have found to serve those around you. As always, you are also welcome to share a favorite quote or your answer to one of the study questions from this week’s chapter, too!

Our last book discussion will be next Monday, January 13, 2014, when we will be discussion Chapter 12: The Faithful Mother.

To view all posts in this book study, click HERE.

I Would Love To Hear Your Comments

Our lives are important to God and He has a plan for each and everyone of us, to become literal sons and daughters in His family.  He gives us of His very own spirit, so we can be grow up with His characteristics, one being that of self-control.

To find out more of God’s purpose for you, please send for our booklet“What is Your Destiny?” or click below to read it in a pdf format.

What is Your Destiny?

The Mission of Motherhood ~ Chapter 9: Keeper of the Domain

I’m sorry. I seem to have forgotten the preceding chapter with so much activity during the month of December. 😉 So here is Chapter 9 of my daughter’s Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkston book study:

Keeper Of The Doman

I’d like you to think about the most memorable home you’ve ever set foot in – a home in which you felt welcome and comfortable. {Do you have one in mind yet?}

Do you remember what stood out to you the most about the home?

Was it a brightly burning candle welcoming you in out of the dark? The wonderful smells from the kitchen?

Perhaps it was something more personal, like a welcoming smile and hug, or a warm drink waiting for you as you stamped the snow off your boots.

No matter what it was that made you feel welcome, your hostess no doubt made an intentional choice to make you feel that way, and that choice took a certain level of commitment on her part.

However, being a “keeper of the domain” goes beyond merely being a good hostess:

It is a commitment of the heart, mind and soul to the task of subduing (making productive) a very specific part of the earth – the domain of the home. It involves teaching minds and nurturing hearts and shaping souls, in addition to getting the rugs vacuumed and dinner on the table! (p. 163)

When you and I make a commitment to be “keepers of our domains”, we can be sure that it will make a huge difference in the lives of our families.

The task of building our homes into places of beauty and life that will feed the hearts, souls, and minds of our children is the most comprehensive task to which God has called us as mother. We are called to quite literally be “home makers” – to plan and shape a home environment that provides our families with both a safe resting place and a launching pad for everything they do in the world. (p. 161)

If we want to be successful in our commitment, we need to have vision. Do you feel as though you have a vision for your domain? I’m not really sure that I thought much about mine before reading this chapter. Here is Sally’s vision:

Sally Clarkston Quote

What I think it so awesome is that it really doesn’t matter one bit what type of domain we are the keepers of. Whether we live on a sprawling horse ranch or small 2-bedroom apartment in the city, each type of home, with a little work and planning, can become an environment of beauty, warmth and comfort. Each of us can work toward creating a nurturing environment in whatever type of home we have.

 

Iliana served up a smile along with the shortbread cookies she made for our tea yesterday

In this chapter, Sally shares several ways she has tried to achieve this in her own home. They include things like

  • Arranging furniture in way that is conducive to your family gathering for conversation
  • Acquiring the largest table you can to welcome guests into the home
  • Carving out personal space for each member of the family, even if it’s just one shelf in each child’s room for their own treasures
  • Personalizing your home with things that reflect your values, tastes and preferences
  • She shares many more ideas for creating a nurturing enviroment in part 2 of her video for this chapter

It’s important for us to remember, however, that no matter how creative or skilled we are, that the ultimate key to success in creating a nurturing environment is you – the mom!

Although our physical surroundings can make a big difference, what my children and husband need the most from me is not a perfect home or perfect training or a perfectly spiritual role model or a wife without faults – but a mother and wife who is committed to doing whatever it takes to love them and make a home for them.

My attitude is ultimately what makes our house a peaceful haven.

 

The remainder of chapter 9 focuses on practical ideas for helping us keep “a {somewhat} organized home”.

Effective home management is an important part of making a home into a nurturing environment.

Coming up with a plan for subduing the messy details of our domain is essential to maintaining a peaceful atmosphere, teaching children to take care of themselves, and simply keeping the work from overwhelming everyone. (p. 167)

I love how Sally shared her view that home management is first and foremost a stress-reduction system to make life easier and more peaceful for the family – not something we do to live up to some external value system!

It’s easy to get discouraged or covetous when we look over the fence and see another mom with a “perfect” home management system. While it’s great to get ideas from other people if we’re struggling in this area, we need to keep in mind that there is a wide variety of personalities and preferences in the world. What’s important is that we find the combination of routines and systems that suit our lifestyle and then follow through with it!

"She looks well to the ways of her household." ~ Proverbs 31:27

The jam-packed chapter ends with this encouragement~

No matter how much effort and work we put into subduing the domain of the home, chances are, most of it will go unappreciated. Children who live in a stable, well-managed home tend to take that stability for granted. Yet children who have such a “shepherd” in their homes to oversee, provide for, direct, and protect the life of the home will benefit profoundly.

The strong and secure future we help to build for our children is laid by the hundreds of small deeds we do every day as we serve faithfully in our homes. Yet, the great value of our service will be felt for generations to come and throughout eternity.

Now it’s your turn!

Please share one of the things you most enjoy doing as part of your role as keeper of the domain!

{Of course, you are also welcome to share a favorite quote or your answer to one of the study questions from this week’s chapter, too.}

I’m thankful for each and every one of you who are reading and studying along with me. I pray for you individually and hope that you are finding encouragement and inspiration from our study week to week.

We will continue our study next Monday, December 23rd, with Chapter 10: The Creative Mother

To view all posts in this book study, click HERE.

Be sure to check out Sally’s videos for this chapter if you feel like you are not naturally good at being a keeper of your domain. She is so encouraging! (Videos: Part 1Part 2)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mission of Motherhood

P.S. I love to write about topics relating to keeping the home! Here are a few posts I’ve written in years past that you may want to save to read later on:

Adding Warmth and Light

Sacrifice in the Mundane

The Comforts of Home

Winter Days on the Farm

Mothering Monday: Guarding Our Time

Taming the Beast of Housework

Chores for Children

I Love Comments

The Mission of Motherhood ~ Chapter 10: The Creative Mother

Winter Ice Beauty
Continuing with my daughter’s book study on “The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkston” from Where My Treasure Is at WordPress…..

Yesterday morning, we awoke to a ice-laden wonderland. As I shuffled into the warmly lit living room and gazed out upon the perfect stillness of the crystalline world, the first word that escaped my lips was  ”Woooooow!”

Each of my children, in turn, gasped as they descended the stairs for breakfast and saw the branches bending down heavy on the deck.

Winter Ice Beauty

We spent a long while enjoying our breakfast and discussing the amazing view. Abigail begged for a delay in the morning chores so that she and Iliana could rush outside and capture it before it all melted away.

A bit later, bundled up tight, the two of them slipped off and away through the crunchy land of wonder, breathing little clouds and breathing in the beauty…

Winter Ice Beauty

“Beauty is not just something frivolous;
it is essential to the foundation of our lives.”

In this week’s chapter, Sally shares that one of the best ways that we can appeal to the yearnings for beauty and wonder that God has already placed in our children’s hearts is to expose them to the many facets of God’s artistry as expressed in what He made.

Our children are not just brains that need to be developed academically or trained to think right thoughts. Our children were designed by God to receive pleasure through their senses, their hearts, and their minds, because of all the wonderful things He made for us to enjoy – and also to come to know their Creator through the works of His hands. (p. 182)

To me, introducing our children to God by way of His creation is one of the most joyful parts of mothering!

It is also one of the greatest gifts we can give them.

Winter Ice Beauty

However, helping my children to enjoy and appreciate God’s handiwork in its many varieties requires a choice.

In the modern world that we live in, it is so easy to substitute virtual reality for actual reality – so very easy. We convince ourselves that a quality nature show is as just as good as going outside. That a sensory table filled with a gooey (and sanitary) substances is equivalent to actually playing in the rain and mud. That a virtual pet is just as fun as touching a real, live animal. But by making these “easier” choices, we often don’t realize all that we are choosing to give up. The farther we move from nature the more out of touch we can get with God’s power and reality.

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?

~ Psalm 8: 3-4 ~

Many children are rarely exposed to the natural elements that were meant to daily confront our soul with the greatness of God. What can be done for these children? Well, there are many great ideas in this chapter of ways to incorporate God’s creation into everyday life. I don’t want to repeat all of her ideas here, but I will share a few of mine that I’ve incorporated into my children’s lives…

1. Experiencing God’s creation through our senses

Eating in Season 
A Simple Summer Supper
Tea with jam and bread
Adding Warmth and Light

2. Experiencing God’s creation through words and ideas

Education is a Life

3. Experiencing God’s creation through the natural world

Our family’s nature studies on:
Winter
Birds
Reptiles
Amphibians
Trees
Human Body

Education in Our Home Series: Science

A New View (a spring walk)
Winter Walk
Winter Morning
The wonder of it

Three Things To Give Kids Every Day This Summer

 Any encounter with God’s outdoors can make a difference. Over the long haul, the more time our children spend in natural settings, both wild and tame, the more deeply they will realize the magnificent message of Jeremiah 32:17:

“Ah Lord GOD! Behold, Thou hast made the heavens and the earth by Thy great power and by Thine outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for Thee!” (p. 188)

Winter Ice Beauty

Filling our homes

Another way that we can help to keep our children’s minds focused on God’s creativity is the way in which we arrange our home environment.

Sally says:

From the time they were very small, I have filled our home with items that appealed to their senses and fed their understanding of God’s beauty and their appreciation of human creativity. (p. 188)

Every woman’s ideas will be different (that’s the beauty of the creative mother!) ~ but each of us can find ways to fill our homes with beauty and inspiration no matter the size of our budget.

In my home, I always try to have fresh flowers on the table throughout the growing season. When the flowers are gone, I decorate with ivy , pinecones and other things we can find around the property. I seek out oversized art books of beautiful paintings for my children to browse through. I intentionally fill our home library with books about God’s creation so that my children can study deeper into the things they find outside.

As a completely NON arts and crafts-type person, it’s been encouraging for me to realize over the past few years that being creative in God’s image encompasses a wide range of activities – from storytelling to house construction to baking to music to crafts to problem solving!

All of the beautiful things that we can fill our homes with to look at, touch, smell and taste were created by God for us to experience so that we could enjoy life more fully. However, He did not intend for these things to bring us fulfillment in and of themselves, but to point beyond the things to the Artist Himself –  to affirm His magnificence, His power and His kindness and generosity in making our lives so full.

He gave us a richly created world to help us know Him better!

Encouraging a creative response

We must remember that being made in God’s image means we are like Him – each of us – including our children! If He is creative, then we also have that potential – all of us!

We can encourage our children’s responses to God’s creation by filling our home with tools and materials for their own creative endeavors. Boxes of art supplies – stickers, paints, crayons, colored pencils, stencils and lots of scrap paper, dress-up clothes from the thrift store, how-to books on drawing, crafts and other hobbies, garden tools and seeds – the list is almost endless! If we are on a budget, a little creativity on our part will make it possible to acquire tools for our children – books from the library, art supplies from garage sales, buying secondhand tools.

An important part of fostering creativity in our children is to model it ourselves in everyday life. We can make small choices everyday to involve our children in what it is that we enjoy doing, whether it’s baking, gardening, photography, web design or any other creative endeavor. One of the things I’ve enjoyed teaching my children to do is to create handmade cards.

When our children practice creating, they begin understanding the Creator God, who is the original Artist!

Winter Ice Beauty

Does it all sound too simple?

Go outside

Bring it inside

Practice creativity

After reading this chapter, did you feel like saying…

OK, Sally, that’s all well and good for you and your {perfect} family, but we live in the REAL WORLD here, not out in Grizzly Adams-Little House on the Prairie-Treehugger Land! My kids are more interested in Minecraft than monarch butterflies, Angry Birds than awesome sunsets, Instagram than an interesting walk in the woods and Big Time Rush than rushing outside to play!

The kind of life you’re talking about is just not reality anymore.

Winter Ice Beauty

Regardless of our family’s lifestyle choices, we all need to ask ourselves this question…

Has God’s magnificence changed over time?

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

~ Psalm 19:1 ~

Does His creation give Him any less glory in our modern, technological age? Has the creativity of the top developers at Apple® finally surpassed His old, worn-out wonders? Have Hollywood’s CGI technicians found a way to outshine the breathtaking view of the heavens at night?

In the book of Job, God takes to answering Job’s questions with questions of His own – questions all about the things He has created.

Who is this that darkens counsel
By words without knowledge?
Now gird up your loins like a man,
And I will ask you, and you instruct Me!

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding.
Who set its measurements, since you know?…

Or who enclosed the sea with doors,
When, bursting forth, it went out from the womb;
when I made a cloud its garment,
and thick darkness its swaddling band?

Have you entered the treasury of snow,
or have you seen the treasury of hail?

Do you know the ordinances of the heavens?
Can you set their dominion oer the earth?

Job 38: 2-5, 8-9, 22, 33

We and our children need Job’s message, today as much as ever before. There is something about the direct experience of God’s natural world that tends to put our human doubts and questions into perspective. (p. 186)

When we invite our children to explore and marvel in God’s creation alongside us,
we learn that His perspective and wisdom and purposes
are vastly different from our human, limited viewpoint.

 Winter Ice Beauty

A lifelong habit

One of my main goals of mothering is to touch my children’s hearts with the overwhelming wonder of God’s presence.

But it will not happen overnight.

Cultivating an appreciation of God’s creation and the “in his image” creativity of our families is a lifelong habit. It takes years to develop and it is built by the ways we choose to live each day. (p. 195)

As mothers, we have an awesome opportunity to draw our children closer to God. We can make small choices in how our young children spend their days. We can invite our teens to take a walk with us or plan a family trip to an exciting new place, full of God’s creation. Any small thing that we can do to get out into God’s creation or bring it into our homes will be worthwhile and have a lasting impact in the lives of our children!

A big thank you to Abigail (my granddaughter) who braved the cold and took all of the photographs in this post!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mission of Motherhood

Now it’s your turn!

Let’s discuss some different ways we can bring our children into contact with God’s magnificent creation! What does your family enjoy doing that involves nature?

As always, you are also welcome to share a favorite quote or your answer to one of the study questions from this week’s chapter, too!

Our next discussion will be in two weeks, on January 6, 2014, when we will be discussion Chapter 11: The Ministering Mother.

To view all posts in this book study, click HERE.

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